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Goshen heads to regional on mission

There will be a team entering the softball Super Regional at the Troy Sportsplex this weekend looking to redeem itself for something that happened in last year’s regional tournament.

The Goshen Eagles missed the state tournament last season by just one game thanks to a 3-1 loss to the hands of American Christian in the consolation championship game of last year’s South Central Regional Tournament.

But much had changed in a year’s time.

The Eagles again find themselves in the regional tournament however with some extra hardware.

Last week, the Eagles were crowned the Class 2A Area 5 champions thanks to its 11-1 victory over rival Zion Chapel and now, GHS has its eyes set on its next goal – going to state.

“We were one game away last year,” head coach Dee Hughes said.

“I think this year, the girls will go into the tournament with a lot of focus and I think they realize that this is something that they can accomplish.”

Last year’s loss in the regional tournament also may have played a factor in the team’s Area championship as well, according to the coach.

“The girls were ready for the playoffs (during the Area tournament),” she said.

“They were fired up to win.”

It will have been a little over a week since the Eagles were last seen on field competing and the coach said her team is ready to get back there.

“We are very ready and anxious to get out on the field,” Hughes said. “We can barely stand it.”

“Last year, there was just one day between the area tournament and the regional tournaments – this seems like it has been the longest week ever for us,” the coach said with a laugh.

In the first round, the Eagles will take on Thorsby High School, out of 2A Area 7.

The Rebels finished with an 8-10 overall record and were the runner-ups in their Area to Isabella High School.

Hughes said the key to this game and the rest of the tournament will be strong pitching and defense.

“We are not going to be able to rely on just one productive pitcher,” she said.

“Luckily, we have two girls that I think are up to the task and ready to go.”

The two pitchers Hughes is referring to are Alli Warrick and Amanda Griggs.

“We have faced some good hitting teams this season, and I know both girls will be confident against anyone they pitch against,” the coach added.

Haley Hughes, another Eagle pitcher, hasn’t pitched in close to three weeks due to injury and the coach said it would likely stay that way throughout the tournament.

Along with the pitching situation, there is another advantage the Eagles may have over other opposing teams.

Thanks to previous tournaments at the Sportsplex, like the Trojan Classic, GHS knows the fields in Troy well.

“We have played here a lot,” she said. “Plus a lot of our girls played on those fields in recreation leagues when they were going up. There will be definitely feel kind of like home.

“We should always have a lot of support at the games, which is always helpful,” the coach added.

The Eagles and the Rebels will get started at 11 a.m. this morning on field two.